#F1 Qualifying Review: 2015 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX Ferrari Flying High

QualiReview

Ambient 28° Track 34° Humidity 76% Wind 1.7m/s

Prelude

Hot and humid, the glistening lights of Singapore poured down on the paddock, illuminating the colours of the cars in surreal clarity, exaggerating the already lurid hues of the Circus. No answers from Merc as to whether they are sandbagging in P3 but the pundits are saying ixnay, proper problems persist. The story not being talked so much about, of course is how massive a change the new Pirelli recommendations are relative to last year. Alexander Rossi made his debut at a very difficult track as behind the scenes at the Strategy Group, all sorts of kerfluffle reverberate behid the scenes.

Summary

Q1 confirmed that Mercedes were properly in it, with early times putting them at best 5th and 6th and forcing them to strap on the SuperSofts to advance, a highly unusual postion for them. Ricciardo looked to be raciest with Vettel, but honestly the man from Maranello was in a league of his own today, easily taking P1 whenever he appeared on track. Lot’s of screen time for Rossi, though, so good for him but at the end he couldn’t put it together and got schooled by his teammate. The shot of him slewing the car across the bridge will no doubt make his personal scrapbook. Still, Q1 is not about who’s fastest, but who’s slowest and going into it Sainz, Perez, Maldonado, and the Manors were in danger of being relegated. When all was said and done it was Button just squeaking through, and it was the Saubers, Manors and unlucky Maldonado, who were out. That won’t make Monisha happy as it was their brand new iteration of the car.

Q2 continued the tale of 2 teams, with Red Bull and Ferrari relentlessly controlling the top 4 spots. Further down the order, the struggle to get to Q3 was taking shape, with McHonda hoping to get through to Q3 and Force India struggling. Alonso was clearly getting the better of Button early days, with Force India and Grosjean the other runners in danger of being cut after the first runs concluded. In the 2nd runs, as the field came round to set their final times, Carlos Sainz overdid it and whacked the wall, breaking his suspension. This spoiled everyone’s last chance in Q2, a shame as Alonso was P12 and on a good lap. It shook out with Hulkenberg, Alonso, Perez, Sainz and Button taking their final bow for the day. Vettel continued to dominate at the top, but the race between Raikkonen and Ricciardo was clearly on as they continued to be separated by a tenth or so, with Ricciardo having the upper hand through the first 2 sessions.

Q3 carried on with Vettel dominating and with both runs far ahead of the field, Sebastian took pole and glory 0.5s ahead of his nearest competitor, Ricciardo. Hamilton provided drama for Mercedes by scotching his first run, bouncing hard over the rumble strips and bottoming the car out. Verstappen sparkled as well, ultimately going P8 and giving Bottas, just ahead of him, something to think about. Despite the poor first efforts, Mercedes came P5 and and P6, with Hamilton at least being faster than Rosberg, though with both cars 1.5s off the pace, it will be quite a different race for them tomorrow. Ricciardo won the race for P2 and will have his first front row start, with Raikkonen P3 and Kvyat P4 liable to provide some entertainment through the first corners at least.

Different tyre pressures and cambers seem to have shaken things up, though once again at the top the dominance of Sebastian looks to be rather unchallenged for tomorrow. Fortunately, the almost certain appearance of the Safety Car plus the new Start procedures allow at least the possibility of a Joker being thrown in the mix.

Post Quali interviews seem to indicate Mercedes can’t get the tyres into their working range, but the real winner was Jenson Button’s interview on Sky. Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and glory days for the tifosi.

Have fun in the comments and good luck sorting out who goes where after the penalties. See you tomorrow!

2015-09-19SGPQuali

36 responses to “#F1 Qualifying Review: 2015 FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX Ferrari Flying High

    • Well, there is going to be a safety car like all the Singapore GPs and like all the races this season where Vettel’s won. That might put a damper on things. He’s unlucky with safety cars. If he doesn’t lose it to undercut in the first place…. I’m very curious about Ferrari race pace and tyre deg.
      Though, it needs to be said, that was a supreme lap for pole.

      • Sure, but Red Bull are the ones to first take the fight to Ferrari, while Lewis will have to earn his paycheck with some top-level racing, if he is to take the win.

        So unlike most weekends, qualifying didn’t tell us who is almost certainly going to win. I can see Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes take the win, depending on the strategies, mistakes or luck.

        • If Seb gets to T1 first, then barring any unreliability or mishaps, he’s going to win the race it’s that simple.

          Lewis just needs to finish infront of Nico, that should be his first priority. Granted he gets through the first lap without any problems.

          • Even if he finishes behind nico there is nothing lost. Nico won’t be winning this year’s title.

    • It’s the tight twisty bits that the Ferrari and Redbull love…that and higher tyre pressures ;)..oh,what a cynical view. On a different note,did you catch the Button interview? It had me in stitches

      • Yes I did. And this morning I thought what if macca replaces him with Grosjean. Grosjean said he had a drive for ’16. And I don’t think he’ll be wanting to stay at lotus.

        • Maybe Grosjean can’t name names because he made the contract with “Renault” and he cannot make the announcement before Renault finalize and seal the deal with Lotus.

        • I think Duffy has hit the nail on the head, Renault always like a french driver in their line up and with the sponsor of Total I can see RG going to them. Jenson just looked so calm in the interviews, he came across as a man who knew his future and that this was his last time at the track so what the hell,lets have some fun,his TV time was very entertaining and I see him heading that way in the next few yrs,maybe after a time in the sports cars?

  1. So, once the tyre pressure rules are properly enforced and cars checked just before going out of the garage, Merc complains about not getting their tyres ‘into the window’ and are absolutely nowhere. Talk about instant karma for Monza…

    • Instant karma…or evidence that the tyre pressures were actually too low in Monza and that Mercedes has trouble when finally forced to use high pressures.

      • Kind of does.
        What it does highlight is the idiocy of the FIA pandering to FOM to permit the tyre supplier to dictate terms as to how their crap should be used. Fcuk them off!

        • Thank you Peter. Despite the fabrication of Fat Hippo, the fact is that Pirelli performed a last-minute change to the tire pressure – raising it 2 psi from what it had been last year.

          Having investigate game-fixing in sports off and on for over two decades now and intensely for the last nine years, I know attempts to fix races when I see them, and this is one.

          When a car like the Red Bulls, that over 12 have proven that they cannot in any way compete with Mercedes, are suddenly measurably ahead of Mercedes, and cars like Ferrari which, after significant upgrades, cannot come within 20 seconds of Mercedes but are now well over a second better than Mercedes, bluntly, the race has been fixed.

          As for people who will pule about Monza being a speed track and Yas Marina not, check the top car speeds during any race this season; you will not find Mercedes at the top of any speed charts for straight-line speeds, as their advantage lies exactly where Martin Brundle said it would be best manifested… at the Singapore GP.

          Another sign of fixing lies in watching and listening for abnormalities in event reportage. Notice how Brundle, for the first time this season, did not comment about the top cars from a uniquely difficult portion of the track (he was at Turn 5 for perhaps 30 seconds of commentary and said he was going to later make his way to Turn 21, but, oddly, never made it to that destination).

    • That’s an interesting point. It will be telling if this situation remains over the next few races, or if Vettel’s simply a Singapore genius – which I think he is. Could be both?

      Vettel’s driving was really outstanding and impressive.

      Either way, the, “41wins-in-161starts-equaling-Senna’s-exact-record”, thing is probably over.

    • Mercedes is probably feeling like this is 2013 again where they had a nightmare getting the tires to work properly. Love it!

    • @Fat Hippo

      Alternate view – Mercedes have not sorted out the problems with the upgraded engine, and they are running it, at lower power levels. During qualifying, they probably didn’t use the ‘special mode’. The race could be more interesting, if they decide to take a chance and use the usual engine mode. But I wouldn’t bet on it. 🙁

    • …. and if this is the case, and isn’t just track specific (still think this plays a part), it is going to be a race to the finish like 2009… be good to see if so!

  2. Interesting developments at Mercedes, for them to be 1.5s off the pace is quite weird, but at least the race looks interesting now. I just hope Hamilton gets a clean first lap and plays it smart, I think Vettel has got the race win in his grasp if Ferrari don’t lose it to a BS strategy call.

  3. What is this sensation I’m feeling after qualifying? Why, is it excitement? By heavens I think it is!!

    • Oh good. It’s not just me. The misses was wondering why I acted so weird for the first time this year during a quali 😂

  4. Jenson is becoming a PR expert. He’s come through the season’s depressing disappointment and is finding fun wherever he can. He’d make a brilliant commentator. Oh – and Paul di Resta came across well too – not the constantly dour Scot I remember from 2013 – his P3 analysis and dry sense of humour were great.

    • If someone is “dour” then by all means call them dour, but if they’re from Scotland and dour why always add their nationality? TheJudge started this every time he refers to Coulthard, it seems to be contagious.

      • You’re quite right – saying ‘dour’ and ‘Scot’ together is rather tautological… I’d never thought of DC as dour – more square jawed superhero!

        • Oh you’re so funny, all Scots are dour then! A bit more consistency on how comments are moderated would be nice.

          • I dream of a world where “dour” is the worst thing one might read on the Internet.

          • Yes – it was an attempt at humour… sorry if it caused offence. The intent was not dour-ism, but rather that the impression gained of his TV personality during the several Force India years was at odds with his expert and entertaining showing or the Singapore weekend.

  5. Red Bull last sector times are better than Ferrari. They hold onto their tyres well. They probably have better tyre deg. There is your undercut….

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